Christmas Nail Art NOTD: Scratch Tartanium Nail Wraps

Of course I wanted my nails to look utterly fabulous for Christmas, but spending loads of time on them was not an option this year.  Luckily one of the nail wrap sets from Scratch’s December Monthly Mani Box had a Christmas-y look to it, so I wore them to this year’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day gatherings.

The Tartanium nail wraps were designed by textile designer Emily Wagner, and they feature a red-based plaid with metallic gold accents.  The set contains four different wrap designs of different sizes that can be mixed and matched, allowing the user to customize the look of the manicure to some extent.

The Scratch nail wraps are a little thicker than some other nail polish strips that I’ve tried, an advantage of which is that they can be moved around and re-positioned without tearing, which is not always possible with thinner wraps.  I did not use a base coat with these polish strips, but I did apply a top coat (in part because it is recommended by Scratch in the directions for use).


Scratch Tartanium

Scratch Tartanium

Aren’t these nice and seasonally appropriate without being over the top?  (Not that there’s anything wrong with over the top, don’t get me wrong.)  I was told that my nails looked like wrapped Christmas presents today, and I totally agree!  Love these.

I purchased these as part of a set of three nail wraps in the Scratch Monthly Mani Box for $30.00.  They can also be purchased individually for $12.00 from the Scratch online shop.

Swatch and Review: I Love Nail Polish Bottle Service

The Fall 2013 collection from I Love Nail Polish was an epic one for holo and multi-chrome lovers, and, as a member of both groups, I was super excited by the brand’s fall offerings.  One of the colors I selected from the collection was Bottle Service, in part because it was not the kind of color I would normally purchase.  As a charter member of the Pale Force, I often shy away from lighter and more neutral shades in fear that they will wash me out.  I’m so glad that I decided to give Bottle Service a try, however.  It is a stunning lighter shade that doesn’t give me corpse hands!

Bottle Service is a metallic silver chrome polish with tightly scattered holographic sparkle.  The color could almost be described as pewter, as it is a cool, muted shade rather than a glittery, sparkly silver color.  The holographic effect in this polish is easily seen in all types of light, but, because of the opacity of the base, it is not an extremely vibrant holo.  That being said, it is definitely visible and adds a beautiful dimension to this polish.

The application of Bottle Service was not difficult.  Because it is a chrome base, it does tend to show brush strokes to a moderate degree.  These are not terribly noticeable IRL, but if you zoom in on the photos you’ll likely be able to make some out.  I used two coats of Bottle Service to reach opacity, and I applied it over my normal base coat.  I did not use top coat for the photos.

I Love Nail Polish Bottle Service

I Love Nail Polish Bottle Service

I Love Nail Polish Bottle Service

I Love Nail Polish Bottle Service

Do you like the holographic effect in a metallic base?  I think this color is just gorgeous!

I purchased Bottle Service from the I Love Nail Polish online shop for $9.00 during the fall collection pre-order.  It is now available for $10.00.  I have several other polishes from this brand and love them all, so I’d definitely recommend checking them out if you’re interested!

Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips in Perfect Poison Review

The main appeal of gel manicures is that they are quite long-wearing, and, as someone who changes her nail polish every other day, long-wearing polish is not something I focus on that much.  I love trying new things, though, so I purchased a set of the Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips a few months ago, figuring I’d eventually find an occasion to wear them.  Since I was traveling over the past week and knew I would not have time to do my nails, I figured it was the perfect time to test out the Insta-Gel Strips to see if they wear as long as they promise (the packaging claims they can last up to 14 days).

The application of these strips is a little more complicated than normal nail polish strips, but it is no more complicated than the process for a normal gel manicure.  Starting with clean, dry nails, one first applies the nail polish strips to the nails in the same manner that other polish strips are applied.  After the polish strips are applied to all nails, the included gel top coat is applied over the strips, which should be done one nail at a time.  After painting each nail with the top coat, it must be cured under a UV lamp (which is provided in the Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit).  This curing only takes 30 seconds per nail.  After this process is finished, each nail is wiped with an alcohol pad to remove any excess top coat, and the process is finished!  It really does not take much longer than applying regular nail polish strips, especially if you prefer to use top coat with them (sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t).

The strips themselves are very similar to Sally Hansen’s non-gel nail polish strip product, but they did feel a trice thicker to me.  The thickness of all of these strips varies by brand and design, it’s true; the design I used for this manicure was a metallic snakeskin print design called Perfect Poison.  I’ve used metallic nail polish strips in Sally Hansen’s normal range before, and they are usually on the thin side and somewhat easy to tear.  The gel strips did seem slightly thicker to me and not quite as delicate as the regular ones.

These first two pictures were taken right after I applied the strips.

Sally Hansen Perfect Poison

Sally Hansen Perfect Poison

I think they turned out nice, don’t you?  I received some compliments on my nails while wearing these, so other people liked them, too. 🙂

The real question, though, is “How long did they wear?”  Right?  I ended up wearing these for 6 days (which is an eternity for me).  At the end of that time, about half of the strips were showing tip wear, and half still looked relatively pristine.  One of my thumb nails had a larger chip, but that happened when I banged it on the edge of a table, which may not happen to every wearer.  :-p  The photo below shows the strips on Day 6.

Sally Hansen Perfect Poison after 6 days

You’ll see that my index and middle finger show tip wear, but my ring finger and pinky still look pretty good.

The verdict?  I think these strips are a good option for someone who prefers not to do their nails very often (I hear they’re out there), or for someone who knows they will be too busy to do them for several days.  In order to get the best wear, it’s important to cover the edges of the strips completely with the gel top coat.  I paid particular attention to the free edges of my nails when applying the top coat (which is recommended in the instructions), yet this is where all of the wear and tear took place on the strips.  I imagine that, had I not spent so much time covering the edges with top coat, they may have chipped even sooner.  And, while I think that 6 days is a decent wear time for a mani, I can’t imagine these lasting for the 14 days claimed by the packaging.

That being said, I’ve had similar wear results with normal nail polish strips from other brands; I wore a set of regular strips from another brand with Seche top coat for 5 days once, and there were no chips at all when I finally took them off.  So I’d say these aren’t a necessary purchase unless you can get them on sale (like I did) or you just love trying new things (like I do).  In that case, definitely give them a try!  They worked out pretty well for me. 🙂

I purchased these strips from CVS with some ExtraBucks when they were on sale; they normally retail for around $14.00 for a set of the strips themselves (which also comes with the gel top coat) and around $25.00 for the starter kit (which includes a set of strips, the top coat, and the UV light).  Drugstores are always having sales on Sally Hansen products, though, so it’s worth waiting for one to purchase these.

Swatch and Review: Ethereal Lacquer Lurid

I only discovered Ethereal Lacquer earlier this year, but it didn’t take me long to become a devotee of this brand’s original and beautiful polish creations.  Today I’m wearing Ethereal Lacquer’s Lurid, which is a color-shifting glitter topcoat.

Lurid is packed with shimmer that has a prominent pink to blue color shift.  Floating amidst all this shimmer is some holographic micro-glitter to round out the look.  The effect of this polish is stunning.  The color shift is visible in all types of lighting; there was no sunlight to speak of here today, and I had no trouble seeing the effect.  I love the added touch of the holographic micro-glitter, as the glints of rainbow sparkles add an extra dimension to the polish.  It almost gives one the look of galaxy nails without any of the effort.

The application of this polish could not have been better.  It only took one coat to give the spectacular effect you’ll see in the photos.  It dried extremely quickly as well.  I applied Lurid over two coats of black polish.  (The black polish I used is butter London Union Jack Black, in case you were wondering!)  I also used my usual base and top coats for the photos.

Ethereal Lacquer Lurid

Ethereal Lacquer Lurid

Ethereal Lacquer Lurid

Are you seeing all that shimmer?!  I tried to tilt my index finger in the photos so the color shift would be more apparent, but you really can see it on my other nails, too.  At the base the pink is more prominent, but the blue comes out as your eye moves toward the free edge of my nail.

I purchased this polish from the Ethereal Lacquer online shop as part of a set of 3 polishes for $30.00.  Things tend to sell out relatively quickly, so you’ll have to keep your eye on the shop and jump at the next restock if you’re interested.